Military judge Army Col. Jeffery Nance has set an October trial date for Bowe Bergdahl, who stands accused of deserting his unit in Afghanistan back in 2009.
After three unsuccessful tries at setting a date, Nance declared jury selection will begin on Oct. 16, which will be followed shortly by a firm trial date of Oct. 23, the Associated Press reports.
“I’m getting a little gun-shy about setting trial dates,” Nance joked.
In setting a trial date, Nance said the defense will have a lot of room to question jurors for any bias stemming from remarks made by President Donald Trump during his 2016 election campaign. Bergdahl’s lawyers filed a motion to throw out the case because these comments would reportedly bias the end result of the case, but Nance threw that motion out.
Bergdahl was captured and held by the Taliban in 2009 for five years. The Obama administration arranged a deal on May 31, 2014, exchanging five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl, who now faces charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl says the reason he walked off post was to alert leadership to deep problems within his unit.
Bergdahl could face life in prison if convicted of misbehavior before the enemy.
Lawyers still have another 24,000 documents to review between now and October.
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